This Must Be The Stuff Rumpelstiltskin Used

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Well here it is – all set to spin into gold. So now you know. Rumpelstiltskin surely had barley straw.

But before the spinning – this was the barley crop three mornings ago:

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Then in the afternoon, in the baking heat, this happened:

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And the dust flew:

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And now we have this:

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And I can hurdle across the field to the allotment, leaping limping over the straw furrows which are half a metre tall, grabbing a few handfuls as I go – not for gold production unfortunately, but to add to the compost bins. There’s another bonus too. This early harvesting may mean we have the freedom of the field for much longer than we usually do – i.e. before it is ploughed for the next crop. I’m also looking forward to baling, if that’s what happens with barley straw. Lots more photo opportunities if the bales are left in the field long enough to take the camera out.

Grimms’ Fairy Tales: Rumpelstiltskin

Clouds With Silver Linings?

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I have to say that on the presentation front the cloud gods have truly upped their game this year. Even in the stormy wet and frigid months that were supposed to be spring, but weren’t, we were treated to some magnificent cloudscapes. And lately too, during our present hot spell, we’ve had some stunningly captivating creations. There’s much to be said for cloud watching. In fact I think this huge job spotted over the barley field the other afternoon could well be the Starship Enterprise in disguise.

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Life in Colour: White/Silver

Alien Life Forms At The Allotment?

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Well this does look pretty weird, doesn’t it. On the other hand it’s the only evidence of major growth  on my allotment plots just now. And the only photo-worthy sign that I’ve actually been toiling away up there.

Naturally, seasoned gardeners will immediately recognise what’s going on here, though my method was a bit unorthodox. Forced rhubarb. Back in the winter when the shoots were first sprouting, this despite many rounds of frost, I had the notion of putting a spare compost bin over the clump. It has worked very well, producing very long pink juicy stems that cook in an eye’s blink. Delicious simmered in fresh-squeezed orange juice, sweetened with runny honey and some star anise. Then served with Greek yogurt. Just the thing for a bright breakfast start to the day.

Bright Square #29

Uppity Little Birds, Robins

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But it’s always cheering to spot one. Even more so if they burst into song and brighten up a wintery twilight. But they can be fractious, being fiercely territorial when it comes to seeing off competitors. They are also very demanding. For much of last year I had one appear as soon as I started work on my allotment plot. If I went near any of my compost heaps, it was there at my feet, demanding that I instantly turn over the heap so it could stuff itself with worms. Obviously I had been labouring under a misapprehension thinking I was the allotment holder. Silly me. As I said: robins rule. I was just there as the field hand.

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Square Up #28

Bird Weekly: Lisa calls for brown feathered varieties

Whatever’s Going On Up There?

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Looks like Owl has been on a festive-season bender and is yet to recover his wits (as in wits-de-woo?). He’s supposed to be on duty seeing off pigeons, and every now and then a human climbs the church tower to put him in a fresh, deemed intimidating pose. Clearly he’s not seeing much from under his Santa hat. Even Weather Cock is giving him the cold shoulder. Even the local doves are having a good laugh – hoo-hoo-hoo, they chortle. I caught them at it just a few minutes ago as I walked back from a trip to the shop.

Well! The things that go on in Much Wenlock. One could faint with the excitement of it all.

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Square Up #12

Wake Up, Chickens!

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This cockerel had worked himself up into quite fury. None of the other hens and ornamental cockerels in the garden were paying  him a blind bit of notice. Pfft. This called for a spot of high-speed strutting, hence the blurry image…

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At least the daisies were standing to attention even if no one else was…

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These photos were taken a couple of springs ago at Arley Aboretum beside the River Severn, an almost local beauty spot, and a place with plenty of scope for upward gazing among majestic trees.

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Square Up #11